Rolls-Royce and the US Defense Production Act Title III office will invest millions in upgrading the company’s capacity for naval vessel propulsion system components in Pascagoula, MS, the company announced on 12 August. The DPA office has already agreed to invest $22 million (€18.6 million) for equipment, with Rolls-Royce making additional investments for building improvements, supplemented with state and local support.

Daniel Rediger, Rolls-Royce, Head of Naval Operations, commented “This community partnership between the Defense Production Act Title III organization and Rolls-Royce, along with Mississippi and Jackson County officials, is a major success for all involved. Rolls-Royce will improve our capability to serve Navy shipbuilding; the Navy will benefit from our added capacity; and Jackson County will add new, highly skilled jobs and a secure future for local industry. It’s a win-win-win […] We also want to recognize the NAVSEA Shipbuilding Industrial Base Task Force for their support through the DPA Title III process, and for recognizing what a vital role we play in the shipbuilding supply chain. Additionally, we would like to thank the Jackson County Economic Development
Foundation for helping to coordinate the investment effort with the Jackson County board of supervisors, the Jackson County legislative delegation, and the state of Mississippi. This support and spirit of partnership have been instrumental in the success of the project.”

The Pascagoula facility is already considered a Center of Excellence within Rolls-Royce and the new investment will only strengthen the company’s ability to manufacture propellers and propulsor components for naval vessels. Rolls-Royce will build a new 26,000sqft building, with new foundry and machining equipment provided by DPA Title III funding, which will support new jobs and workforce development. Support from other partner organizations includes land, roadway and other infrastructure improvements, plus additional workforce development assistance.

Naval components manufactured by Rolls-Royce at Pascagoula include controllable-pitch propeller systems, fixed pitch propellers, and water jets. The components help power the majority of US Navy ships. The facility expansion will bring new jobs that are considered crucial to the success of the advanced manufacturing facility. The Rolls-Royce Pascagoula project follows investment in a new 24,000sqft building at the company’s Walpole, MA, facility which further demonstrates both the company’s commitment to the naval business and the resilience of its wider defence-related business, despite difficult economic conditions.

A DoD statement pointed out that “This DPA Title III investment will protect and create jobs in the Gulf Coast region hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure critical capabilities are retained in support of U.S. Navy operational readiness.”

Rolls-Royce propulsion systems and components already feature on a wide range of USN vessels, such as the ZUMWALT-class destroyer. (Image via Rolls-Royce)

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